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If Change is as Good as a Rest, I Should be In a Coma

moving forwardSeriously God, universe, or whatever is out there playing with my life. Stop it.

Subtlety has never been my strongest character trait. Nor is gracefulness, although, I believe I have been more studious this year about cultivating grace in my life.

Rigidity, focus and drive are all qualities that I have in abundance.

Maybe that’s what the latest lessons in life have been sent to teach me; relax, let it all just happen, and for the love of all that’s holy, breathe.

Loss has been a theme this year. Yippee, just what every middle-aged woman wants. Loss and more loss.

As a late-night, bourbon-soaked email from a friend reads, “You are nothing if not resilient. It’s a great quality.” It’s hard as hell to cultivate though, and I wonder what price I’ve paid for it, or if I’ve really paid any price at all.

Loss of family, a lover, and now potentially home.

More than anyone else I’ve ever known, I’ve reinvented myself time after time. Earlier this year I decided that should I throw my lot in with the love of my life it would not involve a change of workplace or home. Turns out that was the least of my worries with said gentleman.

Stability doesn’t get the street-cred it deserves. In your 40’s, it’s pretty sexy. Scary too as you realize that it’s taken the place of spontaneity and the potential titillation of surprise.

I’m much more cautious about change than I used to be. In the past, I’ve jumped headlong into change without fear or investigation. I just jumped, giddy for a new experience and the vast potential for what kind of story it would turn into.

So, as I begin to assess the possibility of a move,  I wonder if change would be as good as a rest, or if it would push me over the ever-loving edge of sanity. I wonder if I wonder too much?

so differentJust over a month ago, at the end of a relationship, I read this quote and rolled my eyes thinking, “Nope. Everything is, pathetically, exactly the same.

And then I was offered a new job. Old flames turned old friends reappeared in time to soothe my aching heart, and now the potential change of venue for the place I call home.

Hmmm….

Life does really change like this; unpredictably and always, always, always, faster than we’re comfortable with.

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Can’t Get to Paris? Call in the Reserves!

doitlaterThere are days when we reach our limit way before the work day ends.

That’s why as a species, we have developed such civilized alternatives as recreational wine drinking, shopping, spa days and hot, sweaty, life-affirming romps. Can I get an, “AMEN”, ladies?

As I often do during my long, and tedious, urban-gridlock-hell commute home, I called my nearest and dearest relative. Let’s call him Mark for the purposes of our little light reading liaison, shall we?

We chat about everything and anything, and tonight he allowed me to reflect upon my ambivalent take on life. I constantly teeter on the ledge of sensible middle-aged-single-mamma-bear, and the dark, abyss of, you-only-live-once-hell-cat. I’ve very rarely been bored, depressed or lonely when I lean to the hell-cat side.

To jet to Paris this fall for a dream concert, or to play it safe and remain at home, taking my annual December break to bake, wrap and cook so the house feels like Christmas?  I want Paris, but who knows which way it will all play out.

What it boils down to,” I said to Mark as I sped through another intersection-under-construction, “is that at this age, and by my genetic calculations, I’m well past middle age. I mean I see it every day. People think they have all the time in the world to do things, and then, “BAM,” they’re dead.”

We nattered about life, the ups the downs, the good things, the bad things, and various and sundry philosophical ideas that are far beyond the intellectual reach of the average human.

Whether you’re dreaming of Paris, Venice, or a secluded château in the Mediterranean, you really should have a go-to, completely achievable back-up plan that you can call in like the army calls in the reserves.

So tonight I called in the big gun. Pun absolutely, and deliciously intended.

Beyond an afternoon sipping wine in the member’s lounge at the art gallery, an evening sipping Bordeaux with one of your besties, or a jeans-and-sweater beer night with your colleagues, is a serious, hedonistic rendezvous that leaves your legs weak and your body spent.

Always, always, always have a back-up plan ladies, because sometimes what you need is to not think about Paris, or work, or home or your own personal morals values and ethics. Sometimes, if you feel as lost as I do, more than anything, you just need each and every cell in your body to relax, be nurtured, loved and let’s not forget…awakened. Mmm….

Sometimes the best thing to do is call in the reserves, and allow them to give you a thorough and proper love-making session. For those of you with partners, make it special. If you require an explanation or instructions about how to make it special, your partner likely needs a back-up and you need a kick in the ass.

If you are single, or particularly adventurous, you already know what to do, and how to make it ‘special’.

After an-I-lost-track-of-too-many-days-at-the-office, and a whole lot of sadness on my mind, I broke down tonight and called in the back-up, the big-guns, the reserves…

The conversation went a little like this; “Hey.”

Hey..” His voice always purrs.

“You know I wouldn’t call if it wasn’t and emergency..”

….and that was that. The wine is ready to be loosed in our bloodstream. The candles will be lit, the music will be just right, and I will time the end of my very hot, very relaxing bubble bath to coincide with the knock on my door…

It may not be a forever kind of love, but it’s a grand friendship and I’ve been able to count on him for a long time.

Pick up the phone and prepare to execute your battle plan.

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When Nothing Matters, It Matters Most

Toast 1Despite having a career which could easily see me lost day and night in the good and meaningful work I am blessed to be able to do, the energy I have to do that work comes from making time for rejuvenation, shenanigans, and spending time being nurtured by the people who love me.

Stirring honey into my tea today, I overheard a woman exclaim that she was feeling overwhelmed, and complaining that going away for a holiday just made it harder to come back and get up every day to get back to work.

I slipped my wooden stir-stick into the trash and stole a quick peak at her from under my luscious locks. She was a bit younger than me, and clearly, unbalanced.

That’s not a cynical observation.

She looked to be carrying the weight of the world even though she was sipping a gourmet beverage in an upscale coffee shop with a friend willing to listen. “Why is life so difficult“, her high shoulders seemed to be whimpering. I know shoulder language, because more often than not, my own shoulders are tensed right up to my ear lobes, and the margins in my life are tighter than cycling shorts on a man smack dab in the middle of a mid-life crisis.

You read that right. Men in cycling shorts should never happen. Ever.

Anyway…

Balance; the-shoulds-of-a capitalistic-society verses the shoulds of, Deep-down-I-am-a-free-thinking-spiritual-lush. Recently I’ve been up to a little ‘make herself happy’  balance plan.

laughingwomenFood, wine and friendship, the great triumvirate of happiness. Combine those three, and I’m a happy woman.

Before I allowed my joy to be stolen by a grand conspiracy of single-parenthood, economic necessity, and surrender, I was the queen of food, wine and friendship, the duchess of do-it-all-and-then-some, the grand-dame-of-damn-that-woman-can-dance. Oh yah, I lived in and for the moment.

That was long ago and far away, but not an impossible attitude to resurrect.

Trying to be a responsible-adult-woman, the final strike was entering into a relationship with a man who ruined all three for me; food, wine AND friendship.  I carried on in the relationship because that’s what I thought I was supposed to be doing when in fact, I was supposed to be doing whatever the hell I felt like.

Life as I knew it and dreamed it was over when that relationships ended. It was both heartbreaking (there would be no big, happy family or new babies) and emancipating. Turns out, I’m not sure I was ever convinced, other than the apparent security, that a traditional relationship was best for me after so many years of doing everything on my own.

More than a man who needed to lead, it turns out I need a man who values laughter, discovering new food, wine and ways of making sure moments matter even if it’s just sitting in companionable silence. I thought I had  someone like that making a place in my life this summer, but I was mistaken. Must have been the wine.

On my way home from the office I stopped on a whim and picked up a couple of bottles of wine to hold me over until the vintage release this weekend. I found a much coveted Italian varietal, and another which conjures a warm, no.  Wait. Not warm. It conjures memories of an electrically charged, white-hot  and carefree love-affair, aptly birthed in Sonoma, California and named Folies a Deux.

I will take my charming new find to be uncorked at a French restaurant tomorrow evening to share over a meal and wonderful conversation.

Being excited to try new wine, try new recipes, make time for friends, writing, and maybe a little tryst in a land far-far-away means I’ve got the groove back I thought I had lost.

"We all begin as stringers..."  ~ANDSHELAUGHS~
“We all begin as strangers…”
~ANDSHELAUGHS~

What on earth was I thinking? When you’ve got it, you can never lose it.

Get out there and be fabulous darlings. There is exquisite wine held hostage in bottles just waiting to be emancipated. There is savoury food waiting to dance on your palate, and friendships that need rekindling.

I also have a suspicion that there are delectable men who are worthy of wooing us, just waiting for our school-girl hearts to bow to the sage wisdom of serendipity.

 

 

 

 

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The One That Got Away – VD Advice

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” ~Albert Einstein~
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
~Albert Einstein~

I’ve gone from English Lit snob to chick-lit/flick junkie. Yes, at this age, I’m pretty sure I know what the real world has going on, and more than that, certain that I know nothing at all when it comes to love. There are  movies that other women think that single women (of all ages) need to watch. These gems include Pretty Woman (still haven’t watched the entire movie from start to finish), Sex in the City (Seen it, seen it again, and again), and He’s Just Not that Into You (which I finally watched this week). What I learned from watching that movie is; no one, men or women have a clue what is going on when it comes to matters of the heart. Even a lady with as much experience as myself has no clue when it comes to love. Romantic love. Nope, nada, zip. In retrospect, the most insight I have is that I let a wonderful man go whilst trying to make a miserable relationship work. Instead of heading off into the sunset with a fellow whom I happen to know is a good man, I stuck in a relationship with a doofus. What can I say? I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Now Mr. Good Stuff is engaged to be married to someone else, and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking. All I know for sure is; you don’t known unless you try, and trust someone’s actions not empty promises. So as VD creeps up on us once again, put yourself out there and let yourself be vulnerable to love.

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When the Amazing C is Silent

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty." ~Sicilian Proverb~
“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.”
~Sicilian Proverb~

You’ve read about her before right? The Amazing C?

She’s a funny bird, but I love her.

Unlike my bestest friend who has known me since I was a virgin, the Amazing C came into my life later; After a marriage, a divorce, once-tight abs and my belief in fairytale endings had all faded into the sunset.

She’s my soul-sister in suffering and absolute fabulousness. She, more than anyone else understands my world of work, and understands when words are inadequate to describe the suffering of a higher calling.

She also understands how that relates to raunchy escapades, a bottle too many, and emotions that run so deep, even you don’t know they’re still there.

I like to believe that although life pressed the ‘normal’ button on our life-cycle, when we next meet face-to-face for a girls weekend, we will remember what it’s like to be ‘delicates’.

You likely have a friend just like the Amazing C. Don’t you think it’s time to make the effort to reconnect?

All women have years that pass quickly and deplete their buckets of empathy. We’re all  trying to keep up with daily life. But in doing so, we lose ourselves just a little bit. Reconnecting with our friends helps us rekindle that spark that made life exciting and cast a long shadow on fear and self-conscientiousness.

I’m off on another little globe-trotting adventure where I hope to re-connect with my creative, dynamic and energetic self. Maybe I’ll find that delusional girl with stars in her eyes who I used to be. I’m sure she’ll be there with your twin-double, cleavage at the ready, drinking martinis with sexy Scottish rugby stars.

When I get back, let’s do something stupid together again.

 

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Anxiety & Depression: Catch Someone Doing Something Right

 

fortune cookiesEach year my mumster takes us out to a Chinese restaurant at Christmas time. It’s a tradition that we look forward to every year, including the passing around of fortune cookies, and reading them out loud. Mum’s hubby has added the advanced silliness of adding, “…in bed“, at the end of each fortune.

As the sun seeks longer periods of shelter from her shining down on the northern hemisphere, my good mood also fades, and I’m left with anxiety and depression that is even more hard to clothe in something fabulous and breathtaking. During the winter months those two aspects of my psyche stand as huge grey pillars in the flat landscape of my mind, poking up new outcroppings along paths that in the past were clear.

It’s been a doozy of a winter to navigate darlings. Bourbon, bubbly and boys just get in the way. It’s a raw journey that one must always make alone.

Mumster’s Christmas dinner always marks the beginning of the dull, dark, grey months, so the fortune is something light and lovely, and I always, always, always, tuck it in my wallet and keep it until the next year. It’s a reminder to keep things light.

youwillberewardedFortunes often promise something, but this year it issued  a task. This year, my fortune read; “Catch someone doing something right”…in bed. That’s not fun! That’s more work? I have to actually do something? Well, I never…!!!

The fortune hit home, and it caught me off guard. Catch someone doing something right.

I hadn’t done that in a while. I hadn’t acknowledged just how right some things were going, and being done around me. Instead, the bleak landscape of winter had taken over my very own grey matter. Grey, bleak and as always, it seemed like it would never end.

As much as a fortune can be, I use it as a guidepost, a koan, and do the best that I can for what it has to offer.

I caught little Willie Nelson the cat curled up in my white duvet this morning, so that’s gotta be doing something right.

Reading Kelzbelzphotography this morning, I felt less alone in my suffering, even if I did feel a little indignant about some of the comments,  “Think of your children….chin up…” , one of them read. Oh please, save the platitudes. Buh-arf! But the short post was something right. Sharing these thoughts and feelings is difficult at best. Kelzbelz did something right by making the rest of us feel not so alone.

Catch someone doing something right, snuck into my head, and I began to think of all the things people do right;

1) My pal’s offer to drive to the movie theatre yesterday

2) An invitation to a birthday get-together

3) An invitation to a business lecture to help grow my fledgling writing business.

4) Texts despite being busy

5) Willie Nelson the cat, just being himself

6) Being lent a waterproof camera for a much-anticipated vacation

7) Someone else doing all of the planning for said vacation

8) Someone being my diet buddy

….the list goes on and on. I have so many wonderful people in my life who tolerate me during my expeditions into the depths of winter doldrums, that it’s hard not to find someone doing something right all of the time. inbed

Even though I may not have told you, and you all know who you are, I catch you doing something right all of the time, and I am grateful. Winter sucks, and you are the marshmallows in the warm cocoa of life.

Go ahead, try to catch someone doing something right, and see how it changes the landscape of your grey, winter mind. Who knows, I may even catch someone doing something right…in bed!

 

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An Open Letter to Mothers With Young Children

"Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it's the most exquisite love of all." ~Maggie Gallagher~
“Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it’s the most exquisite love of all.”
~Maggie Gallagher~

I was you once – giddy with affection and unconditional love for my child.

Every moment was a miracle, and every second I could kiss, cuddle, snuggle or coo my little one, I did. Unapologetically.

I see you out there, proud as punch as you push your strollers and post your photos on social media of your naps, and first steps, and messy little-helping hands of your budding cookie bakers.

Don’t stop.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Don’t stop falling in love with your babies.

I’m the middle-aged woman you pass at the coffee shop, or in the shopping aisle who stops to tell you how beautiful your baby, toddler or young child is. I’m the woman who coos over the outfits and little faces, and even the tears.  I’m one of the kazillion middle-aged women who look at you through their newly increased lens prescription and says; “Enjoy them while they’re young.”

Don’t stop being amazed at every new stage. Ever.Don’t stop wondering how they are when they head off to school, and don’t stop bothering them for a hug, or stories about their day when they become teenagers. Trust me, they will challenge you sometimes.

Whatever happens and whatever they get up to, don’t stop being the ferociously loving mother that you are.

I’ll be honest with you. When my child turned three, I was tempted to see what the return policy was. Four was better. Like a light switch being turned on, the ‘terrible three’s’ (it was three not two) turned into the fabulous four’s, and I had my angel back.

It’s true, every age and stage holds some surprise. Some stages, much like the prize your potty-training-darling hands to you while proudly shouting, “Poo-Poo”  are less satisfying than others. Sometimes you will despair at how you will get through the day; emotionally, physically, financially. Sometimes, you will have nothing left to give. But that’s when us older gals come in.

We’ve been there; the smiling photo-posting-proud-as-pie times and the lonely-how-am-I-going-to-do-it-times. Pick up the phone, talk to us in line at Starbuck’s, or at the grocery store. We’ve been there sister, and lived to coach you through it.

For now, just keep doing what you do. You’re great at it, even when you’re not sure you’re doing it right, you are.

~Enjoy them while they’re little. They grow up too quickly.~